How to Creatively Solve Problems in a Workplace
Any one way of solving problems in a workplace, whether they’re arguments among coworkers, disagreements about the best tactical approach or the inability to find a workable solution to a problem, can get old or become ineffective, especially if you find yourselves simply going through the motions of solving a problem without getting much of anything accomplished.
Finding creative ways to solve problems can give you fresh perspective on your business, help you think outside of the box, use your brains in a different way and bring your team members closer together. Using a creative problem-solving strategies may take a little extra time at first, but once you get the hang of using them around the office, they may even become your preferred way of working.
5 Steps to Creatively Solve Problems in a Workplace
1. Define the problem.
Instead of sitting down and writing down words on a sheet of paper or display board to define the problem, ask each person working on the problem solving to express what they believe the problem to be artistically by drawing a picture.
Each person will have a different representation of the problem, and you may find that different individuals see different parts of the problem as the heart of the issue, depending on what they choose to depict. Talk over the meanings of these drawings with everyone to get a more holistic idea of the problem written down.
2. Write down the key points of the problem that you cannot ignore when finding a solution, and post it up for everyone to see.
Next to each item on the list, write down a brief explanation of why the team cannot ignore it. This list could vary from just one item to several items, depending on the complexity of the issue. If there are smaller issues stemming from one or two major issues, you may want to make a mind map instead of a bulleted list.
3. Ask everyone in the meeting to work individually or in groups to come up with a solution that addresses and solves all of the key problems presented.
Have them present the solution to the group in a visual way. This could be another drawing, a short skit or a flow chart. Hold off on discussing the different solutions until everyone has presented their ideas.
4. Work together to discuss which solutions offer the best approach to the problem and which ones will work most efficiently.
Discuss what each approach will cost your business in terms of time and resources and which ones are worth their cost to take on. Be open to the possibility of meshing two ideas or solutions together to create an even better result.
5. Create an action plan in the form of a flow chart or a timeline that you can post on the office wall for everyone to see.
Assign responsibilities to each individual in the meeting, and set expectations so everyone has ownership and responsibility over carrying out the solution they just worked together to create.
Tips and Warnings
- Be open to different forms of creativity from your employees, especially if you work in artistic and creative environment. For the sake of time and other employees, just request that the process does not take too long and isn’t too obscure.
- If you don’t work in a creative atmosphere, ease into creative problem solving. If you office has a lot of left-brained individuals, using artistic and creative problem-solving techniques may take some getting used to.
- Take breaks from the problem-solving process if needed. If you hit a wall and can’t come up with better ideas or you simply need to give your brains a break, getting some fresh air or letting the thoughts and ideas simmer overnight can lead to better creativity and a more productive meeting.
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